June 14, 2005

While young people in South Africa today enjoy the rights of freedom of speech and association, those same young people are denied the economic rights of engaging in meaningful employment so as to fully realise their potential and talents.

While young people today enjoy the human rights necessary to stimulate and nurture their positive development in society, those same young people are ravaged by the scourge of HIV/AIDS which scourge is further exacerbated by the ANC government's inaction, confusion and blundering when it comes to this national emergency.

The IFP Youth Brigade is of the firm view that the young people of this country deserve the right to fulfil their human potential, realise their aspirations and become drivers of their own development.

The IFP Youth Brigade further believes that it is time for human rights to translate into economic rights for young people. In this regard the IFP Youth Brigade will embark upon a campaign to highlight how young people have been dealt the short end of the stick when it comes to enjoying economic rights in this country.

Through seminars, workshops, radio interviews and targeted interventions with NGO's and civil society, the IFP Youth Brigade will expose the disjuncture that exists between government's promises to young people and the reality on the ground.

The IFP Youth Brigade believes that it is the right of every young person to receive quality education, develop their skills and acquire knowledge. Instead of extending the doors of learning to all young South Africans, the ANC government has called for all students who fail their first year of tertiary education to be expelled from institutions of higher learning.

Instead of the free education that the ANC promised the youth of this country, this government is cutting down on the little funding that it allocates to educational institutions. The IFP Youth Brigade therefore deplores this state of affairs that systematically and substantially erodes young people's right to education.

The IFP Youth Brigade believes that the young people of this country deserve the right to a safe and secure society that is free from crime, rape and violence. Today however, young people bear the brunt of violent crimes and young women are still the helpless victims of rape and domestic abuse.

The IFP Youth Brigade will henceforth mobilise its structures to be activists for a safe and crime-free society. By joining hands with Community Policing Forums, reporting criminal activity wherever it occurs and by holding the justice system to account, the IFP Youth Brigade will ensure that young people rise to the full measure of exercising their rights.

Our country is endowed with an abundance of natural and financial resources. Our country's greatest resource however is its young people.

With the current process of Black Economic Empowerment that involves billions of rands, it is very discouraging to see how little if any of the BEE resources are channelled towards the development of young people.

The IFP Youth Brigade will begin a public discourse that will highlight how BEE has not benefited the majority of the young people of this country. Through lobbying of business and picketing of government development agencies, the IFP Youth Brigade will advocate for greater resources to be diverted towards young people.

With the drastically high number of unemployed young people, it is a tragedy that the ANC government wastes resources on government road shows dubbed 'imibizos' and continues to prop up ineffective youth development agencies such as the National Youth Commission and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund.

The youth of this country were promised one million jobs in the ANC's 2004 election manifesto, but instead of job creation the young people of this country are being retrenched in their thousands in the formal sector and the government has consistently failed to introduce a viable and sustainable job creation strategy.

The IFP Youth Brigade calls upon government to invest directly into young people themselves. The IFP Youth Brigade will continue to lead the campaign for the creation of a Youth Ministry at national level and the disbandment of the cumbersome Umsobomvu Youth Fund and National Youth Commission.

The spirit of Ubuntu-Botho, which has always been the guiding spirit of the IFP, affirms thus: "I am because you are."

The IFP Youth Brigade believes that society has the responsibility to provide young people with the tools they need to safeguard their health. It is only young people who are healthy and responsible who will be able to secure a future that is prosperous and productive.

In this regard the IFP Youth Brigade will transform its branches into HIV/AIDS BRIGADES whose main task will be to sensitise young people about healthy living, promote abstinence and a return to traditional values and initiate community activities that take care of those who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Through its programmes the IFP Youth Brigade aims to instil a sense of responsibility in young people that will see them take charge of their own lives. All IFP Youth Brigade constituencies and district structures will organise ' I am running away from AIDS' marathons at High School level in order to spread the message of healthy living to young people where they are most vulnerable.

The heroes and heroines of June 16 1976 laid down their lives to ensure that future generations of young people could exercise their rights, have access to resources and become responsible young leaders.

The young people of this country deserve better than the current crop of policies of a government that shunts youth development to the periphery of economic and social progress. The IFP Youth Brigade believes that young people should be at the centre of development.

The IFP Youth Brigade commits itself to being the champion of youth development.

Thulasizwe Buthelezi - 083 482 7936
IFP Youth Brigade National Chairperson